Hottinger, Arnold
April 1973
Foreign Affairs;Apr1973, Vol. 51 Issue 3, p491
This article examines Arab position in the Middle East. The oil question would very probably become a major issue among the Arabs themselves in the early stages of such a possible revolutionary path. It can be assumed that the oil-rich desert states would attempt to maintain commercial relations with their chief market countries in the West, among them, in an increasing way, the United States. But the highly populated and comparatively sophisticated states of the front line toward Israel would turn the issue of the use of Arab oil--just for money, making the rich even richer; or for the Sake of an Arab revolution against Israel and the West?--into one of their main propaganda platforms directed against the conservative oil producers. They would certainly attempt to overthrow those regimes by subversion, and in the long run they would probably be successful. After that they would attempt to evolve an oil policy designed to punish the friends of Israel and to benefit the friends of the Arabs, who in that case would almost certainly include most or all of the Communist world. Confused as the thinking and slogans of Arab radicals currently are, there is little doubt that they will eventually come to power in many Arab states if the present deadlock continues long enough. If their slogans should be converted into policies, this could in the short run lead rather to chaos in the Arab states than to any acute danger for Israel. But in the long run a new Arab Society might crystallize from the process. And it might well resemble present-day China more than any other society now known to us.


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